Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
A Value of $1,344, Included with Membership

Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced today that the Ninth Judicial Circuit judges voted to select James G. Baber and Anthony W. Vaupel as associate judges of the Ninth Judicial Circuit.

Mr. Baber received his undergraduate degree in 1983 from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL and his Juris Doctor in 1986 from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. Mr. Baber is currently affiliated with Whitman & Baber in Monmouth, IL.

Advancing technology has often raised ethical issues for attorneys. Not so long ago, email was suspect. Could lawyers use it to communicate securely with clients?

In response, the ISBA issued an ethics opinion - in 1996, which was confirmed in 1997. Opinion No. 96-10 states that lawyers can use email, without encryption, to communicate with clients unless enhanced security measures are required by the circumstances.

We've come a long way since CompuServ, which was cited as an email/internet provider in the opinion. Virtual law offices now enable attorneys to provide unbundled legal services to clients all over Illinois. Practice management software may be entirely managed and hosted in the cloud. Services like Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, and Google Drive allow for easy file storage and sharing - all based in the cloud. Practice management solutions like Clio are hosted entirely in the cloud. Others, like TrialWorks, offer users the ability to have their data hosted in the cloud.

Clinical Professor of Law Mark Heyrman of the University of Chicago Law School discusses recent changes in Illinois mental health law.

Improve your trial skills in this "learn-by-doing" program that covers all phases of trial work from both a plaintiff and defendant's viewpoint. Through this course, you will learn and practice new trial techniques that are most effective and consistent with the Federal Rules of Evidence and the new Illinois Rules of Evidence. Each session is audio-video taped so you can see and hear the improvements in your voice, manner and trial technique. The program has been proven to be of value whether your practice includes trying jury and non-jury cases, administrative hearings, arbitrations, or mediations. The course is taught and coordinated by Fred Lane and Scott LanePlease Note: Scott Lane will assume a more active role in teaching during the Spring semester along with several celebrity guest lecturers.

Get the updates you need on statutory, regulatory, case law, and policies concerning Illinois state and local taxes! Tax attorneys, CPA’s practicing state tax, and attorneys with an interest in state and local tax practicing at law firms, industry, or governmental agencies – with intermediate practice experience – who attend this seminar in Chicago or via live webcast on January 27, 2017 will better understand: the legislative items affecting members of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Taxpayers’ of Illinois; which legislative items will impact all Illinois residents; the recent policy changes at the Illinois Department of Revenue; the tax changes in Chicago and Cook County, including Chicago’s lease tax and amusement tax; the policy issues and court decisions regarding Illinois property tax; and much more!

Justice Rita B. Garman and the Illinois Supreme Court have announced the appointment of Charles C. Hall as a Circuit Judge in the Fifth Judicial Circuit.

Mr. Hall has been appointed to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Claudia Anderson. His appointment takes effect on March 1, 2017, and concludes on December 3, 2018, when the position will be filled by the 2018 General Election.

Happy New Year and Best Wishes for a Personal and Professional 2017

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

As 2016 comes to an end we begin with a clean slate for 2017. As with anything new - the uncertain future can be scary and exciting at the same time. Year-end provides an opportune time for reflection on the past year and setting goals for the next year - both personal and professional. Goal setting can improve your personal life and your practice.

The ISBA Election in the Spring of 2017 will elect the new Third Vice President, five seats on the Board of Governors (Cook – 2, Under age 37 Outside Cook – 1, Under age 37 Cook – 2) and 21 Cook County Assembly seats. Nominating petitions are now being accepted and must be filed by 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at either the Illinois Bar Center, 424 South 2nd Street, in Springfield or the ISBA Office at 20 S. Clark Street, 9th Floor, Chicago. Petitions must be physically submitted with original signatures. Petitions submitted via email or fax will not be accepted.

Our panel of leading appellate attorneys reviews the Illinois Supreme Court opinions handed down Friday, December 30. The cases are Bremer v. The City of Rockford, Johnson v. Ames, People v. Price, and People v. Smith.


Bremer v. The City of Rockford

By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan

In three cases since 2003, the Supreme Court has construed the phrase “catastrophic injury” in the Public Safety Benefits Act (820 ILCS 320/10(a)) to be synonymous with an injury resulting in a line-of-duty disability pension under section 4-110 of the Pension Code (40 ILCS 5/4-110). The controlling issue in this case is whether that phrase is also synonymous with an injury resulting in an occupational disease disability pension under section 4-110.1 of the Pension Code. The court, with Justice Thomas writing, unanimously held that the legislature did not intend for that phrase to be synonymous with a disease  which resulted in the award of an occupational disease disability pension. The court stated that its prior cases were based on references in the legislative history to only the “line-of-duty” disability provision, and that nothing in the legislative history  indicated an intent to expand the definition of “catastrophic injury.”

The litany of challenges to the legal profession posed by technological and economic "disruption" is all too familiar to those feeling the impact. It includes stagnant or falling incomes among those with consumer-facing practices, reluctance of consumers to retain counsel, and new tech-empowered players reshaping legal services delivery. It has created an urgent need for law schools to better train students in non-legal concepts like marketing and for the profession to better understand its clientele.

The changes are so ubiquitous and far-reaching that lawyers are struggling to understand them, let alone to adapt. "There's kind of a broad unease in the profession based on the idea that change is happening, there are new economic strains, there are new threats from technology and new market entrants, and following all those trends is a time-consuming activity," says Mark Marquardt, executive director of the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois.

With that in mind, the ISBA Task Force on the Future of Legal Services has released a report detailing the field's challenges and remedies that should be brought to bear, as well as the role the bar association itself can play in doing so. "The report was designed to take a look at the broad range of threats and opportunities facing the profession and provide a broad summary, and help people put their concerns into context," says Marquardt, a task force member.